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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-06-29 20:45:01
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Ban urges countries to abolish death penalty



New York, 28 June 2013: United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged Member States to move towards the abolition of the death penalty, and called on countries where the procedure is still practiced to increase transparency to allow a serious debate on capital punishment.

“The taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by legal process,” Ban said opening the high-level event and panel discussion at UN Headquarters in New York, on “Moving away from the death penalty – Wrongful Convictions.”

“We have a duty to prevent innocent people from paying the ultimate price for miscarriages of justice. The most sensible way is to end the death penalty,” The UN chief said.

The high-level event moderated by Ivan imonoviæ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, is the second in a series of UN panel discussion on how to move away from the death penalty.

Since 2007, the General Assembly has adopted four resolutions calling on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition. Today about 150 of the UN's 193 Member States have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

The event was organized by the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and featured a film clip showing of West of Memphis, the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary that follows the events of the so-called “West Memphis Three,” a case in which three teenagers — Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin — were arrested for the murders of three 8-year old children in 1993.

Since 2007, Argentina, Burundi, Gabon, Latvia, Togo and Uzbekistan have abolished the death penalty. Over the past year, Benin and Mongolia initiated measures to follow suit.

However, other countries such as Nigeria and Papua New Guinea have resumed executions after maintaining a moratorium for many years, and Mr. Ban urged them to reconsider the use of this inhumane practice. Source: UN




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